By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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The Dade State Attorney's Office confirmed late last week it will join the City of Miami in investigating allegations against Assistant City Manager Herbert J. Bailey. "We have been asked to look into matters of conflict of interest and nondisclosure," says the prosecutor assigned to the case, David Maer, who is part of the State Attorney's public corruption unit. Two weeks ago City Manager Cesar Odio retained the outside accounting firm Deloitte & Touche to conduct a $35,000 audit of Bailey's Department of Development and Housing Conservation.
In last week's issue, New Times detailed criticisms of a June 1993 property purchase by Bailey and realtor Judy Clark, who is a member of the Northeast Task Force, a city advisory board charged with revitalizing Miami's northeast side. The property, a fourplex on NE 62nd Street, adjoined an area that had been selected for a redevelopment project allotted more than $500,000 in city funds and that would have been overseen by Bailey's department. Bailey has asserted he bought the property long after the proposed redevelopment project fell through, but the general area west of Biscayne Boulevard between NE 62nd and 63rd streets remains targeted for renovation by the Northeast Task Force.
Some task force members, angry that Clark had not disclosed her financial interest in the area and convinced that Bailey's participation in the property purchase represented a conflict of interest, protested to City Manager Odio. Citing these and other complaints, upon which he would not elaborate, Odio called for the outside audit and a Miami Police Department investigation. The police investigations unit referred the matter to the State Attorney's Office, according to Maer, who as of this past Friday had not begun work on the matter.
Bailey, an eleven-year city employee respected for his work in rejuvenating blighted urban neighborhoods, is required by law to make annual disclosures of his real estate holdings. His 62nd Street property was not listed on a statement filed last month with the city clerk's office.
In addition, Bailey must submit an "outside employment statement" each year. Among other things, that form requires all full-time city and county employees to reveal any "business entity" in which they own more than 25 percent of the stocks, shares, or assets. According to state records, Bailey is the sole owner of two active, for-profit corporations, Fundex Distributors and Funded Equities, Inc., both based in Miami. The Miami city clerk's office, which maintains disclosure forms for city employees, could find no record of Bailey having filed an outside employment statement.
The attorney serving as registered agent for Fundex Distributors says the corporation never conducted business. Funded Equities's registered agent did not return calls inquiring about the nature of that company. Bailey himself did not respond to numerous calls seeking comment.
Miami Assistant City Attorney Rafael Diaz last week was unable to determine whether Bailey was in violation of city and county ordinances by apparently failing to disclose his real estate and business interests. Penalties for such violations, according to Assistant State Attorney Maer, include fines of up to $500, a maximum of 30 days in jail, or both.